Biden’s progressive claims shattered in Palestine

In rallies across Turkey, Israel, and the US were protested in solidarity with Palesitinians, follwing the tarawih prayers after fasting in the month of Ramadan. The scene is from Istanbul. (Photo: Twitter)

The progressive claim that brought US President Joe Biden to the White House against Donald Trump’s arbitrary and reactionary rule has been shattered in Palestine. On May 10, the US administration vetoed a UN Security Council condemnation of the attack launched by the Israeli police on May 7 in the Aqsa Mosque. In the statement made by the White House on May 11, it was said that Israel is fully behind its right to defend itself against Hamas and Islamic Jihad rockets fired from Gaza, ignoring the civilian Palestinian loss of lives.
This was a great distortion. It was as if the latest tension began not with the Israeli police raiding the Masjid al Aqsa during the tarawih prayers, particular to the Muslim’s holy month of Ramadan on Friday, May 7, but when Hamas launched a rocket attack on Israeli cities on May 10, after the UN did not issue a condemnation.
I am not saying this to justify Hamas and Islamic Jihad’s indiscriminate firing of rockets on civilian settlements. I say this because I see the Biden administration, which has been elected partly thanks to its progressive claims, in hypocrisy that is no different from Trump or Bush to back the aggressive policies of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
The White House statement also fell behind the statement of the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who called on “Israeli and Palestinian sides” for de-escalation of tension. As a matter of fact, after this development, Netanyahu, who has been facing trials due to corruption allegations said that Israeli forces were “at the height of a weighty campaign”. As in all parts of the world, also in Israel, the rulers under allegations of corruption cling to the “enemy” card to distract attention in domestic politics.

How did the latest tension start?

Israeli police attacked the tarawih prayers in al-Aqsa on May 7 evening with sound bombs and rubber-coated steel bullets; their justification was a possible protest rally afterward. I’m not saying because I accept this justification, but what was the reason for the protest? The Palestinians were protesting the forced evacuation of the homes of 300 Palestinian families who had lived there for generations to allow new Jewish settlements in the districts of Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan near Jerusalem. Netanyahu was taking this expansionist step with the encouragement of Biden’s continuation of Trump’s support.
That night, 163 Palestinians and 6 police officers were injured (due to stones and glass bottles thrown at them) at al-Aqsa. The events then spread and grew. As a result of Hamas rockets and subsequent raids of Israeli jets, 43 Palestinians and 6 Israelis were killed, as of mid-day May 12, according to news agencies. In the meantime, it is written in the Israeli media that the “Iron Dome” air defense system, which is considered to be impenetrable, failed the missiles manufactured in Gaza workshops, and the deaths were due to this.
With the Israeli ground forces rallying on the Gaza border, tension seems to increase.

What will Egypt and Saudi Arabia do?

The Turkish government condemned the Aqsa attack immediately. So did Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.
President Tayyip Erdogan called Palestinian leaders Mahmud Abbas and Ismail Haniya after the attack. Then the King of Jordan, Abdullah, is responsible for the protection of the Palestinians in Jerusalem and the Haram al-Sharif, including the Masjid al Aqsa, according to international agreements. Contacts with Iran and Pakistan were established. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu went to Saudi Arabia. On his return, he said, “We condemn, but the ummah waits for us to step forward.” The Turkish Foreign Minister wanted to give the impression that he was speaking not only on behalf of the reactions in Turkey but also on behalf of the reactions in Muslim countries with the word “ummah” which irked the Turkish opposition.
Çavuşoğlu, an experienced politician, obviously knows that the steps the “ummah” wants cannot be taken as long as the US administration stands behind Israel to the end, under all circumstances. However, Israel’s attack on the one hand destroyed Biden’s progressive and righteousness claims in the fourth month of his rule and has put countries such as Turkey, Egypt, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, which have conflicted in recent years, on the same side. It is difficult to predict how permanent it will be, but that was the least common denominator between them is Jerusalem.
It seems unreasonable and very difficult for the Saudi Arabian and Egyptian administrations to appear friendly to the Israeli administration as long as this last tension goes on. While the streets have been the scene of anti-Israeli protests at night after the tarawih prayers for the last few days in Turkey, it is not possible to talk about a Turkey-Israel rapprochement for the time being. Well, could this situation reflect the rapprochement Turkey initiated with Egypt in relations with Saudi Arabia or even with the UAE? It might be, but it’s too early to judge.

A progressive crack within Democratic rule?

The American media has already started reporting that there is a “progressive crack” within the Biden administration and over the attacks of Israel. Bernie Sanders, who withdrew from the Democrats’ presidential race in order not to divide power against Trump, seems to be at the head of the progressiveness rift. Sanders calls on the Biden administration to stop supporting Netanyahu’s expansionist settlement policy. Ilhan Omar, a Muslim member of the Democratic team of the House of Representatives, criticized State Department Spokesperson Ned Price, because of refraining from even condemning the killing of civilian Palestinians.
The Biden administration’s progressive claims are challenged also on other grounds. For example, the “Democracy Summit” announced by Biden was challenged by the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as a new way to hegemony during a UN Security Council session on May 7. There are lots of zeroes in the democracy scorecard of Russia is a separate issue, but the contradictions of the Biden administration started to emerge very early.
The recent tension that began with Israel’s forcibly expelling Palestinians from their homes to make way for Jewish settlers caused the early shedding of Biden’s progressive image, under which the familiar, unilateralist American policies emerged.

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